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HOW TO:  Make Microsoft Hyper-V and VMware Workstation function side by side

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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert PRO / EE Fellow)
EE Fellow, 2xMVE, Expert of the Year 2017-2011, Scribe 2016-2012, Author of the Year 2018-6,2013-2012 VMware vExpert Pro, vExpert 2020-2011
In this article, I will show you how to configure your Windows 10 computer so Microsoft Hyper-V and VMware Workstation can work side by side and co-exist.
In my previous  Experts Exchange Articles , most have featured Basic and Intermediate VMware and Virtualisation Topics.

If you would like to read my Basic VMware articles, they are listed at the end of this article for your convenience. These articles are primarily based around VMware vSphere, in this article, I'm going to concentrate on two popular desktop Hypervisors -  Microsoft Hyper-V and VMware Workstation Pro.

As a virtualisation specialist, I have a requirement to use both on a daily basis on my laptop.

1. The Problem

Although Microsoft Hyper-V can be enabled on Windows 10 Pro and above, and VMware Workstation Pro can be installed, when Microsoft Hyper-V is enabled, VMware Workstation Pro cannot start any virtual machines, and you will see this ugly error message.

There is much confusion with this error message, and I've witnessed users experimenting with BIOS Intel virtualisation options to try and solve the issue. Unfortunately, this will not solve the issue.

The issue is VMware Workstation is not compatible with Hyper-V when active and running. VMware Workstation cannot access Intel virtualisation functions on the host CPU because they are "masked" by Hyper-V.

2. The Workaround

There has been a published workaround for this issue which involves disabling Hyper-V when the computer boots.

You can try the following workarounds

bcdedit /set hypervisorlaunchtype off

Reboot the computer and Hyper-V is disabled. VMware Workstation will now start virtual machines correctly.

bcdedit /set hypervisorlaunchtype on (or auto start)
This command enables Hyper-V again, requires a reboot also.

You can also create two bootloader options to do the same thing, and select the option you require.

HOWEVER, this is inconvenient because you have to effectively toggle between Hypervisors.

2. The Solution

Microsoft and the Google team came up with a solution to this problem, almost 3 years ago!

Microsoft and Google developed the new Microsoft  Windows Hypervisor Platform (WHPX). This API was released in the Windows 10 April 2018 update. It was commonly known as the Spring Creators Update or Build 1803.

If you check your Turn Windows Features on or off.

There is an option called Windows Hypervisor Platform this allows any virtualisation software to work with Microsoft Hyper-V. It turns on the Microsoft  Windows Hypervisor Platform (WHPX). - the API.

Software still needs to be developed to use the API.

I've been using Google Android Studio for the last two years with Hyper-V enabled, with this option turned on with no issues, making Microsoft Hyper-V and Google Android Studio emulator co-exist.

HOWEVER, we've had to wait until today, for this function to be included in VMware Workstation Pro. From VMware Workstation Pro 15.5.5 and later (as of writing this article 15.5.6 has now been released 13 June 2020) VMware Workstation is compatible with Microsoft Hyper-V.

Software Pre-requisites 

   1. VMware Workstation 15.5.5 or later.

   2. Windows 10, version 2004 (20H1).

   3. Windows Hypervisor Platform enabled.

If you've got 1,2 and 3 above, then Microsoft Hyper-V and VMware Workstation can both start and run virtual machines with no issues, and error messages!

Two virtual machines running, Windows 2000 Professional in Microsoft Hyper-V and Windows 10 in VMware Workstation Pro.

Basic VMware Articles Series:

These articles are also applicable to VMware vSphere Hypervisor ESXi 5.0, 5.5, 6.0.
These articles are applicable to VMware vSphere Hypervisor 6.5.

These articles are applicable to VMware vSphere Hypervisor 6.7.

Previous articles in this VMware vSphere 7.0 series are here.

If you found this tutorial helpful, please do click the  Thumbs-Up  icon below. This lets me know what is valuable for EE members and provides direction for future articles. If you have a related question based on this article, please click  here.

Thank you very much! 

Regards, Andy

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